Background to the Rice Sector

Rice is among the most important food and commercial crop in the country where its production and marketing potential is yet to be reached. In the central corridor the overall average rice productivity is ranked approximately around 2 tons per hectare and of low quality making the sub-sector uncompetitive in the national market. Production and productivity could only be further improved with farmers’ adoption of better agronomic practices like the use of improved seeds, proper application of fertilizers, etc. Rice farmers’ organizations are building up but are still few and weak, they need to be strengthened to play an active role in stimulating production, improving marketing systems and generate more income to involved households. The subsector is also characterized by weak and uncompetitive small and medium enterprises involved in milling and marketing of rice producing poor and ungraded rice. Domestic production provides for only about 80% of country’s self sufficiency, also characterized with inefficient allocation within markets and yet a great untapped export market potential in the East African Community. For the period of 2012- 2015 RLDC envisions a much more competitive rice sub-sector, domestic self sufficiency and a formal export business. The sector growth will be driven by private sector investments in processing/milling that ensure quality rice supply to the market and the demand pull that will stimulate production at farmers’ level. To be able to achieve domestic self sufficiency and consequential rice export, the country will need to increase its productivity by more than 50%, the rice quality and improve marketing issues. RLDC facilitates market actors to improve production rates of paddy and quality of rice through improved rice agronomic practices, adoption of improved rice seeds as well as new technology and better marketing practices.

RLDC will adopt a multi-stakeholders strategy for addressing key bottlenecks holding back sector growth. As many other actors (International Organisations, Non Governmental Organisations, government institutions) are present in the sector, RLDC will step up efforts at networking and where possible build alliances to fully exploit synergies and coordinate efforts. RLDC involvement in rice sector will use the M4P approach and bring changes on the system itself. The facilitator role of RLDC will result into the empowerment of real market actors. 

Intervention1- Improvement in Agronomic & Post-harvest Practices Innovations

In implementing improvement in agronomic and post-harvest practices intervention, RLDP envision innovating farmer to farmer knowledge transfer "Promoters", and private extension use of video (DVD) to train rice farmers

Improvement in Agronomic & Post-harvest Practices Strategy

To enable rice increase productivity, RLDC facilitates rice farmers to adopt improved/new techniques of rice farming (improved agronomic practices). Using available opportunities and innovative means to reach farmers. In the improvement of agronomic practices intervention, RLDC adopts the strategy of farmer to farmer knowledge transfer by capitalizing the lead farmers existing in villages and in rice farmers’ groups. The lead farmers are identified through farmer’s participatory approach and then trained at the MKINDO Farmers’ Training Centre. The Lead farmers known as promoters are then required to train fellow farmers in their respective village using a practical methodology of Farmers Field Schools (FFS).
In April 2012 MVIWATA was contracted as a partner/co-facilitator to facilitate the rice farmers into learning process. MVIWATA supervised selection of promoters and organized training for the same under MKINDO Farmers’ Training Centre. MVIWATA works closely with the rice farmers groups and promoters to ensure they deliver the training to their fellow members. In all 21 villages under MVIWATA each promoter trained 25 rice farmers from groups through Farmer Field Schools and the trained farmers adopted the practices in their fields. It is also planned that new promoters will be selected and trained in so as to expand the outreach to many more rice farmers. Further to ease the field work load, RLDC is planning to collaborate with MKINDO Farmers Training Centre (MFTC) to introduce simple farm tools for rice cultivation through demonstration and training to rice farmers and fabricators.

Read the whole Rice Sector Market Development Strategy here.